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Tuesday, July 23, 2024

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Gov. Whitmer endorses Kamala Harris for president, says she's not leaving Michigan; Grilled by lawmakers on the Trump assassination attempt, Secret Service director says, 'We failed;' Teachers rally at national convention in Houston; Opioid settlement fund fuels anti-addiction battle in Indiana; Nonprofit agency says corporate donations keep programs going.

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Democrats consolidate support behind Vice President Harris, Republicans threaten legal action over changes to the presidential ticket, and a possible bipartisan consensus forms on the failure of the Secret Service to protect former President Trump.

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It's grass-cutting season and with it, rural lawn mower races, Montana's drive-thru blood project is easing shortages, rural Americans spend more on food when transportation costs are tallied, and a lack of good childcare is thwarting rural business owners.

Civil rights groups press for bills to rethink public safety

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Wednesday, June 19, 2024   

Social justice groups are pressing Congress to pass a series of bills to rethink public safety in the U.S.

The new 2024 Community Safety Legislative Agenda comes from a coalition of more than 60 nonprofits.

Megan Rodgers, U.S. policy and advocacy manager for the group Nonviolent Peaceforce, said the idea is to prevent violence and address its root causes rather than over-rely on a punitive, law enforcement-driven approach.

"This legislative agenda is a set of bills that re-imagine what community safety looks like," Rodgers outlined. "Making really important investments in community health and prevention programs, community responses to violence, and positive changes that help to eventually prevent and deter violence outside of a dependence on a carceral solution."

The agenda includes 17 bills, either already introduced or will soon be filed in Congress. One of the key bills, the People's Response Act, would create a new division of community safety within the federal Department of Health and Human Services.

Rodgers noted the Mental Health Justice Act would fund local efforts to hire trained mental health professionals to be dispatched to help defuse mental health crises, rather than police officers.

"There's many, many times when a person is going through a severe mental health crisis that police are called," Rodgers observed. "That person becomes criminalized and is not given the full wraparound services, as the appropriate response to what truly is a mental health issue."

The agenda also includes the Break the Cycle of Violence Act, which would create an office on community violence intervention, to replicate local programs with proven track records.

Disclosure: Nonviolent Peaceforce contributes to our fund for reporting on Criminal Justice, Human Rights/Racial Justice, Peace, and Social Justice. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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